Collagen Questions

As we age, our joints and our skin are less supple, and more prone to sagging, fine lines, wrinkles, and arthritis. Doctors say that’s because collagen, the most plentiful protein in our bodies and our skeletal scaffolding, becomes less abundant. However, can you really look and feel better by taking collagen capsules, chews, or even using creamers?

You should know there’s no clear evidence a collagen supplement is a fountain of youth. Nevertheless, recent studies show that these supplements can trigger enough production of collagen to reduce wrinkles and skin dryness. As for your joints, experts say there is very little evidence collagen helps ease arthritis pains or slow cartilage loss. Doctors are especially skeptical about plant-based collagen supplements, saying some don’t contain “real” collagen derived from animals.

You should know that while the FDA considers collagen supplements generally safe, quality and ingredients can vary widely from bottle-to-bottle. Doctors urge you to look for the word “hydrolyzed” on the label, and pay less attention to the price, or the celebrity endorsements.

Interestingly, a recent study of elderly men found positive effects from taking 15 milligrams a day, in addition to lifting weights 3 times a week. There is also solid evidence collagen is a great wound healer, especially for pressure sores (which are caused by pressure against the skin that limits blood flow to the skin).


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